A New Zealand tourist was so afraid of an Australian man she met through the dating app Tinder that she fell 14 floors to her death while trying to escape from his apartment balcony, a prosecutor told a court yesterday.
Gable Tostee, 30, pleaded not guilty in the Queensland State Supreme Court in Brisbane, Australia, to the murder of 26-year-old Warriena Wright in Gold Coast city, Australia, in the early hours of Aug. 8, 2014.
He faces a potential life sentence if convicted.
Tostee and the woman from Lower Hutt, New Zealand, met for the first time in the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise on the night she died.
Prosecutor Glen Cash told the jury that Tostee did not throw Wright to her death, but intimidated and threatened her to an extent that she felt the only way to escape was to climb down from his balcony.
The court heard an audio recording made on Tostee’s telephone that captured an altercation between the pair, as well as the fall.
Cash said that Tostee became angry after Wright threw ornamental rocks at him and hit him with a telescope.
He also said that Tostee choked and restrained her before locking her out of his apartment on the balcony.
“You’re lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony,” Tostee is heard saying in the recording. “If you try to pull anything, I’ll knock you out.”
The jury was told a neighbor heard Wright crying: “No, no, no, please let me go home,” before witnessing her falling from the balcony about 15 seconds later.
Defense lawyer Saul Holt said Wright had become increasingly erratic and aggressive toward Tostee after a night of drinking and intimacy.
“What happened in this case is nothing like murder or manslaughter. It doesn’t fit,” Holt said.
The trial was adjourned until today.
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